Ten UK students have enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Italian Grand Prix last weekend (6-7 September) as they met Formula One World Championship contender Lewis Hamilton and FIA President Jean Todt courtesy of Allianz UK. Two teams of five received the top prize of £2000 for their educational establishments for their winning entries to the Motor Sports Association Road Safety Film Competition – part of the FIA Action for Road Safety Campaign.
Launched earlier this year, the competition challenged young people in two age categories – 14-18 and 19-24 – to create short films emphasising one of the FIA’s ‘Ten Golden Rules’ of road safety. Entries were whittled down to four finalists, which were then judged by Lewis Hamilton and Sky Sports presenters Johnny Herbert and Natalie Pinkham.
The team from Hurtwood House, Surrey, was chosen in the 14-18 category for its entry ‘Melons’ which highlighted the ‘Wear a helmet on two wheels’ rule – click here to view the video. Media Studies teacher Luke Gilchrist said: "What an amazing weekend! The students really got stuck in to this project and to be rewarded for all their hard work with a prize like this – it's just incredible."
In the 19-24 category it was the entry from Mid Kent College in Maidstone that took top honours for the film ‘Respect’, which focused on the ‘Respect the Highway Code’ golden rule and can be viewed here. Creative Media Production Course Tutor Ross Buttery said: "Our students have been so excited about this trip and it's been better than we could have imagined. It's been an interesting and challenging project for everyone and to be putting the spotlight on road safety is really important."
The two winning teams enjoyed a fantastic weekend in Italy, with grandstand seats for the thrilling Grand Prix as well as a tour of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team pit garage. 2008 F1 World Champion Hamilton presented each team with its cash prize that will go to the media departments of the two educational establishments.
FIA President Jean Todt was pleased to see the success of the MSA’s contribution to the FIA’s Action for Road Safety Campaign. He said: "We are delighted that the MSA has joined with the FIA in this competition and it is a real pleasure to meet the winners here. We have such a strong model in Lewis who always supports our initiatives and this kind of competition and event brings these important road safety messages alive. It is encouraging to have such prestigious partners joining the FIA to address the terrible problem of accidents we see on the roads worldwide. It has been a huge success."
Hamilton has been an avid supporter of the competition since its inception, and said: "It's fantastic to meet the people behind the winning videos. These guys inspired me so I'm sure they will have inspired the thousands of people that have watched them. Road safety is a hugely important subject and it has been great to see how people can educate others in a fun and engaging way. I hope they all enjoy a weekend to remember here in Monza - a richly deserved prize for all their efforts."
MSA Chief Executive Rob Jones was also part of the prize presentations at the historic Italian Grand Prix venue. He said: "It's been a pleasure to meet the students from Hurtwood House and Mid Kent College, and to join the presentation of their prize cheques with Lewis Hamilton and Jean Todt here at Monza. They are all very impressive young people who clearly put a lot of effort into their winning films, and it was fantastic to see them bring the important message of road safety to life in such creative ways.
"Lewis's support has been absolutely invaluable and the students were obviously delighted to meet and talk to him. The President's involvement added further gravitas to the occasion, and I would like to thank the FIA for its great help and support in bringing this project to life.
"I would also like to thank Sky Sports F1 for their backing, and of course Allianz for so generously providing such an incredible prize trip to the Italian Grand Prix."